Friday, January 28, 2005

Filibuster Gonzales? Hell, yes!

I chanced to be listening to National Public Radio this morning (yes, I listened to it before I became a Democrat again), and was astounded to hear a commentator opine that Senate Democrats would likely "save their filibuster ammunition" for future Supreme Court appointees and let Alberto Gonzales slide in as Attorney General.

Bad idea.

Gonzales is a former judge and widely considered a possible Supreme Court appointee himself. If the Democrats lie down on the tracks and let the White House run over them on this Justice Department appointment, they'll regret it later. When and if Bush appoints him to the Supreme Court, any attempt to block the nomination will immediately be subject to the rejoinder: "If you thought he was so bad, why did you let me make him Attorney General?" And that rejoinder will resonate with the public.

Let's get two things straight:

- No, George W. Bush isn't entitled to a post-election "honeymoon." He's not a first-term president introducing new ideas. He's a second-term president, barely re-elected, pushing the same failed approaches to the same problems he failed to successfully address in his first four years. No free passes, George. You didn't get a mandate. You barely managed to weasel back in for a second term -- 60,000 changed votes in Ohio would have made the difference -- and even assuming that your re-election wasn't due to massive vote fraud, it wasn't due to your leadership either. It was at best due to a few too many Americans being reluctant to change horses in the middle of the deep, muddy stream that the horse they were on waded into.

- No, Alberto Gonzales is not qualified to serve as Attorney General of the United States. The AG's job is to enforce the law. As White House counsel, Gonzales described that law, in particular treaty restrictions on the use of torture to which the US is signatory, as "quaint" and "obsolete." How does describing the law as "quaint" and "obsolete" qualify one for the top law enforcement job in the US government? The last two Attorneys General have been incredibly poor choices to head up the Civil Rights Division of DoJ, rein in the excesses of federal law enforcement, etc. Gonzales would be an extension of a very bad trend.

It's time for Democrats to start acting like what they are -- the opposition -- and oppose the outrages, excesses and bad ideas coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So get your 41 votes together, wind up Robert Byrd for a few weeks of chatty oration about his little dog, and crush Gonzales now, not later.

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